Last Summer Vacation

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What an amazing way to end a great summer!

What began as a rushed and harried July ended with a relaxed and heart-felt August. I’m pretty impressed with the way this summer has turned out.

In July, the boys and I rushed to get summer started – town fair, sleepovers, family visits, and our trip to Philadelphia consumed the first three weeks. But then it all seemed to slow down as we prepared for the one trip that I was looking forward to the most.

We hit the highway early and headed to Manitoba in hopes of spending time with family before the festivities began.

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It was a relatively short 6 hour drive considering how excited we all were to see everyone again. It was the first time the entire family has been together for many years. As soon as we pulled into the hotel parking lot, the clouds threatened rain but there was no way they could damper our mood.

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We got settled into the hotel room and the party had begun. Luckily, the “party room” wasn’t in our room this year and I had a safe place to retire when I needed some down-time.

Family dinner, a few drinks, and a lot of chatter ended the night early as we prepared for the wedding the following day.

The next afternoon, we made our way to the church, where almost the entire clan hovered around the front entrance. Smiles were abundant, love lit us up like Christmas trees, and everyone seemed so happy to be back together after almost three years apart.

Lil Man had a fabulous time with his new “friends” – little did he realize that we are all one big happy family! With glow-sticks galore, the kids were kept busy and all of them seemed to be on their best behavior. There were so many kids and so many smiling faces that it was hard not to be affected.

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The kids have grown and changed so much that it’s like piecing together a puzzle every time we visit. I’m always so grateful to be part of this generation of the family.

Near the end of the night, it was time to disperse and it was a quiet ride back to the hotel. Everyone was tired but satisfied with the way the day had played out. The bride was beautiful, the dinner was delicious, and everyone wore their biggest smiles.

It was a tough morning for some due to a self-inflicted late night, but everyone was safely back at the hotel and we all spent more time together before some had to leave. There were lots of hugs and plenty of promises to get together again.

It’s always hard for me to leave the family in Manitoba because I always feel so welcomed and loved when we’re there. I miss them dearly when we are all consumed with daily lives. More than once, I’ve considered the idea of moving there, but, as the Hubster and I concluded, there aren’t many job opportunities for him in that area. The only thing that keeps me optimistic is knowing that we’ll all be together again soon.

I love this family with all my heart and with every breath I take. I have never felt as accepted and appreciated as I do when I’m with them. Maybe I should consider making this an annual event…hmmm…

For now, onward and upward. As we drove into the city, that beautiful sign welcomed me back to my real home.

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And now the organization/scheduling/planning truly begins as I prepare for the start of school, power skating, and hockey season. Between Hubster’s coaching, Lil Man’s playing, and my writing, hockey is about to consume our lives for another season.

Let the games begin!

-TK

Robin Williams – A Legend

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Every once in a while, people come into our lives and change them for the better. One such person was Robin Williams.

Not only did I grow up laughing and saying “Nanu Nanu” while watching Mork and Mindy, but he also made me believe in the power of words and free-thinking with his portrayal of John Keating in the movie Dead Poets Society. And again in Good Will Hunting, he helped me to realize the power of experience as he played Dr. Sean McGuire, mentor and therapist to Will, the title character.

Even though I was never lucky enough to meet the man, through his personalization of many characters that he played, these characters came alive in my mind and weaved together moral fibers that helped me through my journey in life. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and everyone who, like me, feels that we lost a legend.

Thank you, Robin Williams. For the laughter, the joys, and for helping those of us who maybe didn’t believe in ourselves sometimes. You will never be forgotten.

O Captain my Captain!

-TK

Monday Morning Walk

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What a great way to start the week!

While our wonderful cleaning lady was busy in the house this morning, I decided to take Lil Man on a nature hike. Before leaving, we made a list of interesting things to find and turned it into a scavenger hunt of sorts. It’s amazing what you can see when you actually look very closely at the world around you.

My son has the worst fear of bugs that I’ve ever seen and I’ve been trying my hardest to help him face his fears without pushing him too hard. A nature walk was the perfect excuse to get out of the house and help my son find peace among the creepy-crawlies. We talked about the bugs and everything else that crossed our paths while the sun beat down on our backs. Discovery – that’s what it’s all about.

The first thing he noticed were grasshoppers. Yes, grasshoppers – he hates the unpredictability of their jumping paths. At first, he cowered behind me, but, as we walked, he seemed to summon enough courage to walk by himself.

And then there were ants. He avoided every ant hill in our path, but, as he focused on the scavenger hunt, his fear subsided.

Before I knew it, he was begging me to take his picture along the creek and would position himself in the tallest of grass so he could show his dad how proud he was to be on a nature walk.

We were greeted by cyclists and fellow walkers in the early morning sunshine and my son said “good morning” to everyone. And, each time, he received a smile and a “hello” in return.

We watched as nature unfolded before us in all its glory. And Lil Man was amazed by it all. It’s not often we get to spend a quiet morning together at my favourite place in the small town. At one point, as we looked out over the glassy creek, my son turned to me and said, “mom, if you have a fear of water, why do you like being near it so much?” To which I replied, “I like it because I’m learning about it, which is helping me to get over my fear. It’s the same reason why I go swimming with you – I’m facing my fears so I don’t have to be scared any more.” He thought for a moment, nodded his head, and then we carried on along the pathway.

I don’t know if he fully understood my perspective, but he accepted it for what it was. I was very grateful that he was learning to appreciate nature as much as I did.

We wandered a bit further along the creek and found everything on our scavenger list, and then began the slow walk home.

We heard an approaching train and we stopped in silence to watch it pass by from one block away. There were no complaints, just quiet acceptance as we each took a sip from our water bottles before heading for home.

I hope we can do it all again tomorrow.

-TK

Saying “I Love You”

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Thought of the day…
Do you say “I love you” because you mean it or because it’s habit?

I noticed this online the other day and it got me thinking about those people who have told me they love me for the wrong reasons. Maybe this is off-topic, but, in reminiscence, my past has healed my future.

With the deterioration of my first marriage, I was in a bad spot in my life. Little did I realize that it would lead to such an amazing future, but I digress. As I went through one of the hardest situations anyone can go through, I heard the words “I love you” a lot, from his family and my own. But one thing became became clear during that time – not everyone says those words and means them.

I was a very trusting person back then and I assumed that people always meant what they said. Sadly, I learned the hard way who truly stood behind me and who didn’t. It was through their actions – not their words – that I realized who really loved me and who was only trying to put a band-aid on a toxic situation.

I had always been taught never to lie and never to say something that I didn’t mean. My “I-love-yous” are saved for only the most special people in my life. To hand them out like candy is selling other people short if I don’t have the actions to back up all my words.

My mother always taught me to think before I speak and it was one of the most important lessons in my life.

Thanks Mom – I love you!

-TK

Quiet Day

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It’s a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining through the trees and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. I have a lot of work to do and I love when I can move my office outdoors.

For today, I will relax in the gazebo, work as diligently as possible, and, hopefully, get some time to myself later.

Considering that the summer started off rainy and foggy, it sure has turned into a gorgeous season. Seems like we took our trip at just the right time, when the rain poured. When we returned home, it was sunny and everything was so green and lush!

I’m hoping the nice weather sticks around for our mini-vacation in a couple weeks. More travel is on the horizon and I’m looking forward to getting away again.

Today, I much prefer the sounds of nature in my backyard during a quiet, relaxing work day.

-TK

Healthy Eating

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*pic courtesy of http://sfgate.com

In winter, I’m a terrible eater. Yes, because life gets hectic and crazy during hockey season, my eating habits change drastically and I tend to eat whatever is in front of me. Sometimes it is a sandwich and soup, other times it’s take out or drive-thru. Whatever is quick and easy, I’ll eat it.

But when summer rolls around and I have time to breathe, I prefer to put more thought into what I eat.

Typically, I stick to a Mediterranean Diet – although I don’t consider it a diet, per ce, because I actually enjoy these foods. I love extra Virginia olive oil, fresh veggies, and all kinds of bread. Yes, I eat loads of carbs because you only live once and I’m not giving up my favourite foods. Once in a while, I will indulge in cheesecake (my only foodie weakness!) and sweets. But my meat and sugar consumption tend to drop off like dead flies as spring turns to summer.

Once fall arrives, Thanksgiving comes and all the greasy, fat-filled, bad-for-me foods that I’ve missed out on while riding my bike, swimming, and jogging make their way onto my plate again.

It’s not a vicious cycle as some may assume. It’s the way I’ve lived for a few years now and it seems to suit me just fine. I have no outrageous health issues and I’m usually very active in some way, shape, or form. To each their own – and this is what I love to do because I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on anything.

Being so short, you’d think I would have to watch my weight more than I do (putting on ten pounds can seem like twenty to someone barely over 5 feet tall), but, truth be told, I’m not concerned about anything other than the typical health issues. I don’t want to have a heart-attack at age 40, I don’t want to be unhealthy and suffer because of it. And I don’t want others to worry about me.

As for my weight and whether or not others think I have an attractive body, I only have one thing to say…HAHAHA! No. That’s not something I’m worried about. Sometimes I feel bad for subjected others to seeing me in a swimsuit, but, that doesn’t stop me from going swimming with my son.

The best part about being my age is that I no longer care what others think of how I look. I live a healthy life for ME. And for my family. Because I want to be around for a lot of years to share in the wonderful moments with my boys that only a mother/wife could appreciate.

And THAT is the joy of eating.

-TK